Painter's Corner: Ethics MCAA Style

Words: Todd Fredrick

Jerry Painter


Welcome to February, the month of LOVE, according to all the greeting card producers and florists. By now, you should be over the holidays and back into your regular routine. For a lot of you, the month starts in Las Vegas at the 2020 MCAA Convention. There is plenty of fellowship, seminars, and competition to keep you busy and educate you at the same time.   The other day I was reminded of the time I was invited to speak to a Business Ethics class at the local university. Now anyone that knows me could predict my response when asked if I would share my thoughts on Construction Ethics. My close answer was, "Oh yes, when is it, and how many hours do I have?"     But alas, all I had was 55 minutes to share a lifetime of experience, opinions, and complaints. As subcontractors, they were able to get a comparison of my belief in a multiple ethics' world: specifically, the perceived difference between a general contractor's ethics and a subcontractor's concept of good ethics. In reality, a proper ethical code is beneficial to everyone that operates under the influence of good business and personal ethics.    Later in life, I became a Rotarian. Rotary has the 4-Way Test. This guides us in everything we say or do, as we try to be truthful, fair, build goodwill and better relationships, and be beneficial to all. Most trade associations have their own Code of Ethics. Your MCAA has an excellent Code of Ethics. If you haven't read it lately, go to and review it. If you've never read it, I double-dog dare you to do it as quickly as you can. It will be enlightening.    It is in three parts. The first part starts with words I SHALL. The six points of this section have verbs or action words as the keywords. This document is one of action or doing. By being a member of MCAA, you agree to abide by this Code. The second part of the Code is My Creed. It is very simply stated as "Whatsoever ye would that man should do to you, do you even so to them." This is very simple to believe and act upon.    The third part of the Code of Ethics is My Pledge. Please use this as it is intended. This is your pledge to make the whole of the MCAA Code of Ethics work for you and your business. This is no different than when we were kids. We realized we did things the right way because of the people around us.   As we continued to develop, we found there were a lot of unsaid expectations and requirements within our family unit or peer groups. Some people learned these relatively easy, while others had to work through punishments to learn and develop their own individual code to live by.   There are only two types of mason contractors. Those who are MCAA members and those who should be MCAA members. Mason contractors that don't have or follow a solid code of ethics. Contractors that cut corners and fail to provide quality masonry in a professional manner are no different than when we were kids. We did things that, in the end, embarrassed our families or teammates.    When contractors do not finish jobs, do bad work, violate building and safety codes, and fail to provide faithfully for their employees, it gives the masonry industry a black eye and bruises. By being a member of MCAA and using our Code of Ethics as a basis of operation, you may be able to turn that around and embarrass and pressure others to do better as you lead by example. As a member of MCAA, you have access to an immeasurable amount of material that will help you be the best contractor. It could start with the MCAA Code of Ethics.   Say Hi if you are at the WOC/WOM, and be sure to RAISE the LINE and come on around the corner.  
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